Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Post-Election Miracles

Highlights By Moshe Feiglin

Whether I will or will not get a Knesset seat or which slot I occupy on the Likud roster is not of great concern to me. But what has been really difficult since I was bumped to 36th place has been explaining to my supporters why I insist on not appealing the decision in court. After all, wonderful people have been following my lead for years. They have worked with unending dedication and volunteered countless hours of their precious time. Suddenly I stubbornly insist on something that seems to be completely marginal.

"True," they say to me," the High Court is not very popular, but these are the rules of the game. You can't be in politics and play by your own rules." Top notch lawyers volunteer to represent me gratis. Veteran Likud members call me in astonishment, "What do you think you're doing?" Friends who have been with me through thick and thin appeal to my conscience. "You can't abandon all the people who have worked so hard," they plead. "This is not your own private game."

Then there are the people who see my refusal to appeal to the court as a sign of weakness. "Why don't you fight?" they protest. "What? You've given up?" Later, their protests became even more accusing. "O.k., you've made a nice demonstration. But now Michael Ratzon has appealed to the court instead of you. His appeal is based completely on your case. The District judge says that you are completely right: "The Elections Committee did not have the authority to change the outcome of the elections. Clearly the measures they took were directed at the purpose of changing the roster in a way that would distance Moshe Feiglin from the high slot that he had won." (From the decision handed down by District Court Judge Yehudah Zapt). "All that you have to do is to turn to the court and request that its decision (that is about you) be applied to you, as well as to Ratzon."

But I refuse to do it. People who have supported our efforts for years call up in anger. And worst of all, people throughout the country call and say, "We stood in line for hours to vote for you. We feel betrayed."

And then G-d performs another of a long string of elections miracles. The Likud appeals to the High Court and announces that if the appeal is rejected, it will revert to the original Likud roster - in other words, I would be back in the 20th slot. Once again, the judicial process is exhausted despite my insistence and without the necessity for me to appeal to the 'enlightened' dictator.

On the eighth night of Chanukah, G-d removes the shadows of doubt. It turns out that our Father in Heaven directed us and the intuition of Michael Fuah and myself was right on the mark. If I had listened to all those urging me to appeal to the court, I would still have remained in the 36th slot - but without the possibility of expressing my lack of faith in the High Court.

Israel needs a revolution - not Knesset marionettes beholden to the dictatorship. If I now enter the Knesset from the 36th slot, it will be perfectly legitimate for me to lead the faith based revolution. And if I do not get into the Knesset, we will continue to lead the faith based revolution from where we are today. "You know," a prominent journalist said to me, "there is something unique about you. Every other politician who is no longer in the Knesset becomes immediately irrelevant. But with you, it makes no difference. You are always relevant."

The truth is that the faith based revolution is progressing quite well outside the Knesset. As a result of my primaries race, the faith based approach has reached almost every Israeli home. It will continue to take hold and develop either within the Knesset or without - simply because Israel's reality necessitates genuine Jewish leadership. It is the only relevant alternative that we have.

They're Afraid

By Moshe Feiglin

Highlights I was at a family Chanukah party in Haifa when I received word of the High Court decision to overturn the District Court ruling that would have reinstated Michael Ratzon, and as a result - myself, as well, to our original slots on the Likud list. Our relatives were certain that the High Court would not embarrass itself by overturning the District Court decision. After all, everybody in the country knows why I was bumped down to the 36th slot on the Likud list. In the ruling handed down by the District Court, Judge Yehuda Zapt clearly writes: "In truth, the change in the list stemmed from the desire to distance Moshe Feiglin from the slot in which he was placed."

But I thought otherwise. In interviews that morning I had already predicted that the High Court's fear of me would overcome its embarrassment, that it would accept the Likud's appeal and that in the best case scenario, I would remain in the 36th slot.

They are afraid. They are very afraid. They see how the Israeli public has opened up to our messages. They see the amazing interest and coverage that my campaign generated. From their vantage point they can discern the progress of the faith based revolution much more clearly than we can. Deep inside, they understand that they are actually a relic of the past. They see the 'changing of the guard' of Israeli society and they know that they exist on borrowed time.

If I had accepted the offer of my friend Aryeh Eldad to head his party, the High Court would have had no problem. They had allowed Baruch Marzel to run, but disqualified me in the same election (for my 'disgraceful' crime of organizing the Zo Artzeinu anti-Oslo protests). As far as they are concerned, it is just fine for the nationalists to create a sector-based party for their own constituency, put six, seven or maybe even eight people into the Knesset and to invest all of their energies outside the arena that threatens them - the national leadership arena.

In the previous elections, Lieberman and the Likud won approximately the same number of Knesset seats. Lieberman emerged as the grand victor, while Netanyahu looked like he was permanently finished. But Lieberman was king of the sector. Netanyahu, on the other hand, was the defeated contender for the national crown. Just two and a half years later, Lieberman has exhausted his sector-based possibilities while Netanyahu is once again considered the up and coming prime minister.

Our strategic goal is to lead Israel. My election to the Knesset as an MK is a tactical tool to attain this goal. That is why we cannot leave the national leadership arena for a sector-based party.

If we succeed in convincing the Likud members in the next primaries to vote Feiglin for head of the party, we will also be able to convince the entire Israeli population - and in a big way. If we do not succeed, then we are not yet ripe to lead the nation and we must continue to work and progress. The fact that we are progressing on the national leadership track scares the leftist elites now controlling Israel. Their fear is the most reliable sign that we are on the right path.

Now that all the parties have submitted their Knesset rosters and the dictatorship has exhausted its intra-party tools (in this round) the battle against me moves to the general Knesset arena. The radical Left Meretz party has already announced that it will appeal to the Central Elections Committee to disqualify me from running for the Knesset - in any slot.

Nobody said this would be boring.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Runway to Marks and Spencer Runs Through Gaza

By Moshe Feiglin

27 Kislev, 5769
Dec. 24, '08

"We dreamed that the new state would be a place in which the next chapter of the Bible would be written as a prelude to world-wide redemption. After all, you are the Treasured Nation. We had great expectations. But now look at what you have done."
Deacon of Sapir College, Professor Ze'ev Tzachor, explains in an interview with Meir Uziel how his British colleagues explain their hatred of Israel.

Basic anti-Semitism is certainly a factor. When all is said and done, the Jews were expelled from England 200 years before they were expelled from Spain. The blood libels and yellow star are also a part of Jewish history in the British Isles. On the other hand, England also romanticizes the Bible. Both Nazism and Zionism found a listening ear in Great Britain. It was home to both Lindbergh and Wingate, both the Balfour Declaration and the White Paper.

England is seen by many as the peak of Western culture. It is a bridge between Europe and America - just how many Israelis would love to see themselves - in a place among the nations. Today, the most significant intellectual attacks on Israel come from England. It is in England that General Doron Almog was almost arrested for "war crimes" and it is England that banned a certain Likud politician from entering its borders. "We had great expectations from you and look what you have done," the British say to us. If you have not written the next chapter of the Bible, then you are nothing more than colonialists. If you are not a light unto the nations - the light from which the Biblical elements of our culture can be sustained - then you are a blight upon the nations.

For the political and military leaders of Israel, the above is Chinese. They do not concern themselves with the undercurrents of reality. As a rule, the entire 'post' culture busies itself with describing reality while it flees any attempt to understand it. But the result of all this 'Chinese' is that Israel's current leaders are obsessed with leaving the London legitimacy infusion open. Israel's present leadership has no tools with which to write the next chapter of the "Bible for the entire world." Instead, it defers to the values system of British academia. If the Torah does not come forth from Zion, it will come forth from the International Court in The Hague.

The Western criterion for determining which side of a dispute is just is quite simple. According to Western values, the weak is the just. As Israel defers to the Western values system, it can never attack its enemies. All it can do is defend itself. Israel's right to its Homeland is nowhere to be found in the Israeli foreign relations lexicon. All that you will find there is 'Israel's right to defend itself.' If we dare initiate an attack, we may suffer the fate of Doron Almog. We will no longer be able to spend the weekend in London and we won't be able to shop at Marks and Spencer. We won't be able to forget who we are even for a moment. And then we will be stuck with our Jewish selves.

That is why Israel's leadership does not even consider the simple, logical solutions to stop the attacks from Gaza. Turning off their electricity or placing an embargo on their fuel supply is impossible because these moves would collectively punish Gaza's civilian population. For the same reason, any military operation that would incur civilian casualties is unthinkable. Israel can only allow itself to fight as the underdog - only against an enemy holding a weapon in his hand. Civilian casualties will endanger our shopping trips to Marks and Spencer.

In truth, the situation is even crazier than that. Israel funnels cash to Gaza so that they can shell Ashkelon. If we do not provide them with the cash, then they will shell Tel Aviv. And our fearless leaders cannot remain comfortably in their government positions if Tel Aviv is bombarded with Kassams or Grads. And anyway, we must leave the runway to Marks and Spencer open. So we pay.

There are two ways for Israel's leaders to maneuver between shell-shocked southern Israel and Marks and Spencer and remain in power. The first option is to build protective barriers. That is fine with the British. But this option seems to have run its course. It is too expensive to build skyscrapers underground. The second option is to build a Separation Fence high enough to stop Kassams. But even Israel hasn't discovered an effective way to build a wall that can be raised like an accordion as the missiles fly ever higher.

Lucky for us, the self-defense principle leaves us one more option that can just barely merit British approval. We must catch the assailants red-handed. But to do that, we must send our sons into the killing fields that have sprouted there since we expelled the settlers from Gaza.

Many will be killed, G-d forbid. But the runway to Marks and Spencer will be wide open.

Reverse Feiglin Effect Strikes Again

During the Likud primaries, Bibi spent an inordinate amount of time and effort convincing everyone that Moshe Feiglin's name on the Likud Knesset list would drive 'centrist' voters away from the Likud. But just as Moshe Feiglin had predicted, just the opposite occurred. On the day following Feiglin's election to the 20th spot on the Likud list, the Likud actually gained two mandates in the polls.

Now that Bibi has maneuvered Moshe Feiglin down to the 36th spot on the list, the opposite phenomenon is taking place. The Ha'aretz poll taken yesterday shows once again that the Likud has lost six mandates to more rightist parties. In other words, disenfranchised Feiglin supporters will not vote for the Likud if Moshe is not on the list. They now favor other rightist parties. The following is the article on the poll that appeared today on the Ha'aretz website:

Support for Likud falling among right-wing voters, survey finds
By Yossi Verter, Haaretz Correspondent

Support for the Likud is falling, with a projected 15 percent of its former electoral supporter planning to vote for other right-wing parties, a poll commissioned by Haaretz and performed by the survey company Dialogue found Wednesday.

The poll found the Likud would receive 30 seats in the Knesset compared to 36 in a previous survey by the same pollster.

Apparently, all the votes that make up the six-seat difference went to Yisrael Beiteinu, Shas and Habayit Hayehudi - all of which could boast a significant increase in constituents.

On the whole, the rightist bloc is still leading over the centrist Kadima and the leftist Labor by some 12 seats. The Pensioners Party managed to garner more support compared to the December 10 poll, bringing it to a total of two seats.

A possible explanation as to why Likud hemorrhaged votes can be found in the controversy surrounding hardliner Likudnik Moshe Feiglin's election to the relatively high 20th spot during the party's primary election last week.

Invoking various technical and legal amendments in the party's charter, Netanyahu managed to bump Feiglin down by more than 15 seats in what commentators described as a bid to prevent Likud from losing votes due to an overly-hawkish public image.

Now it appears that Feiglin's ousting from a Knesset seat has backfired, causing rightist voters to abandon Likud for sectarian and hardliner parties.

But according to the Dialogue survey, which was conducted over the phone and included 475 participants, Likud's decline adds nothing to Kadima's base of support. In fact, Tzipi Livni's party has continued its steady but slow decline of one seat every fortnight. It now holds 26 seats, compared to 27 two weeks ago and 28 last month.

Just as Kadima cannot claim to profit from Likud's misfortune, so Labor cannot boast any achievement at Kadima's expense. If Ehud Barak's party - which is currently Israel's fifth largest - is responsible for Kadima's one-seat loss, then it has probably lost that seat to Meretz, which rose by two seats over the past two weeks and may now command the support of enough voters to give it eight Knesset seats.